Death: A part of life | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 23, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 19, 2016 at 12:59 pm
No matter how and when it comes, death can be a challenge to face. However, we should rejoice when death comes because according to Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 (ESV), “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”
Further, as stated in Psalm 116:15 (ESV), “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
It is the flesh in us that causes us to weep when our loved ones pass away. Though there is much to be happy and rejoice about in our world, it is not our home. Our world is filled with manacles of evil and oppression, so when our loved ones die in the Lord, we should rejoice because they will have gone to a better place. They wouldn’t return to this place, even if they had the opportunity, because they are no longer plagued with the ills of this world.
Therefore, as paradoxical as it may sound, death is a part of life. So many of us tend to prepare for everything else except death. However, it behooves you to put this plan in motion, if you have not already done so, because “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” Job 14: 1-2 (ESV).
“If there could be a highway to the moon, it would take 20 months of constant driving at the rate of 400 miles per day to reach the land of the moon. If there could be a railroad stretching up to the sun, a streamlined train traveling 90 mph nonstop, day after day and year after year, would require 116 years to reach sunny land. An airplane flying at 500 mph would have to travel nonstop for 500 years to reach the nearest fixed star. Yet far beyond the starry sky lie the pearly gates of God’s great heavenly sky city. No one knows how far it is in miles, and no one will ever develop a space vehicle for going there, but every one of us can get to that beautiful place by taking three simple steps” (Crews, Joe. Three Steps to Heaven).
Then what are the three simple steps man must take in order to prepare for death, ultimately earning a place in heaven? Step one is that you must have your sins forgiven. Isaiah 59:1-2 (ESV) asserts, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
It is not enough to just tell people they are lost and need to be found. We must show them step by step how to pass from death to life. The doctor doesn’t tell his patients that they are sick and need to be well without giving a prescription for their healing. In the same way, we must be prepared to offer a specific cure for those who have been diagnosed with the disease of sin.
The second step is that after the process of forgiveness, there must be new birth as told in John 3:3 (ESV), “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
Finally, the third step on this journey is sanctification, which means loving obedience to all of God’s revealed will (Crews); in other words, living holy as expressed in John 17:16-17 (ESV), “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
As you begin your preparations for the upcoming holiday seasons, don’t forget about preparing for death because it is inevitable, as pondered in this short story in which I leave you this week, by an unnamed author from O Bible.org:
“There was an older man, the father of one of our church members. I met this gentleman when I conducted his wife’s funeral service after her death.
“All along, Mr. Smith had been making preparations for his own death. After he moved to a retirement village, he asked for me to visit with him about conducting his funeral service, as I had done for his wife.
“Early this year, when Mr. Smith was very ill, I visited him in the hospital. I did not expect him to remember or recognize me. I was mistaken. He not only recognized me; he quickly reminded me that I ‘had a job to do.’ Both he and I knew that ‘job’ was to conduct his funeral.
“I did not wish to assume or to suggest that the time for my ‘job’ had come, and so I responded by saying that I would be glad to do my ‘job’ when the time came.
“He responded, ‘We don’t live forever, you know.’”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at email@example.com)